Eurogamer: Slightly Mad Studios is an independent developer. I know Patrick has a vision of this series that extends far into the future. Are you happy to exclusively develop Shift now, or are you available to create other games?
Andy Tudor: I can't comment on that. It would be nice to... No I'm not going to comment on that. I certainly don't want that on tape!
Eurogamer: So if I asked you if Microsoft has been in touch about Project Gotham Racing, would you be able to comment?
Andy Tudor: Nope, certainly not. I'm not being a d***, but no we can't comment. I'll get a kicking if I talk about that stuff. So no, sorry.
Eurogamer: What was the main complaint by fans of the first game?
Andy Tudor: Shift 1 was the only Need for Speed game out that particular year. There was Nitro on the Wii, and World was in beta at that time. It was the only PC, 360, PS3 Need for Speed game that particular year.
Therefore, the whole game design, the whole ethos, was about that evolution towards getting people onto purely circuits and getting used to circuit racing, but then also making sure what we call the heartland guys, who are the diehard guys who love Need for Speed – they've bought every single one every single year, they all have very strong opinions about whether Undercover was the best game, or whether ProStreet was the best game, or whether Porsche Unleashed was the best game – making sure those guys are happy as well.
If you look back at the design for Shift 1, there are very specific things in there to appeal to both types of gamer. Precision versus aggression XP, for example. Precision drivers are the more sim guys. Aggressive drivers are the more action-orientated audience. That's common throughout the entire career.
Looking back, it did us well. It allowed us to keep a broad appeal and make sure all different types of people could play the game. But with Hot Pursuit out this year, the action section is already covered, so we can very definitely go after the sim guys. The feedback we were getting was, we'd like more abilities to change the handling model, and specific cars they wanted. Why is this famous track location not in the game? Things like that.
The whole ethos for Shift 2 is improving and streamlining. People thought stars were a great idea in Shift 1, but when you look at it, the total thing of stars and currency and XP and precision versus aggression, there were too many currencies in the game. So we're streamlining that kind of thing.
We're making the rivals more important. They were fictional in the first game. Now we've got all the team Need for Speed drivers as rivals in this game. The Need for Speed community has been around for years and years and years, and they're the most vocal racing fans out there.
And with the inclusion of SpeedHunters.com, which is a huge website that captures car culture and what's going on right now, we've got feedback from those guys as well, like what people really want to see. We're trying to add that's tuff into Shift 2 to make it a more authentic experience.
Andy Tudor is Shift 2 lead designer at Slightly Mad Studios.